It was a typical Saturday at the small neighborhood salon where I regularly go for my manicure and pedicure: a bevy of women giving and getting haircuts, perms and manicures, chatting in an upbeat banter over the background hum of classical music and blow dryers.
Across the room from where I was waiting, two young women sat side-by-side under a pair of hairdryers, giggling and pointing as they flipped through a dog-eared copy of Modern Bride.
Valentine’s Day. The day that happy couples exchange kisses and chocolate and go out for a candle-lit dinner. And unhappy couples feel worse about their marriage than on any other day of the year.
With all the pressure to be romantic and passionate, to feel like starry-eyed lovers, to somehow resurrect the mystery and allure you felt in the early days of courtship — after a long day of work and a race home to pick up the kids, after picking up their pizza and your dry cleaning and double-checking with the babysitter — even reasonably happy couples may wonder are we happy enough?
And struggling couples? All the hype and heart-studded hoopla can push them over the edge.
Valentine’s Day generates record-breaking flower sales and the exchange of over a billion boxes of chocolate. It also triggers a dramatic increase in the number of calls made to divorce attorneys. Continue reading →
Let’s be honest. Most of us are more likely to upgrade the operating system on our computer than to revise our marriage vows.
As I sat writing my vows on the eve of my wedding (okay, fine, now you know that I’m a big-time procrastinator) I was no better prepared to face the rigors of marriage than I was to pilot a jumbo jet. And, no surprise, like most soon-to-be newlyweds, the promises I made were idealistic and romantic— based on what I imagined it would take to create a marriage that lasts. Continue reading →
Imagine that one morning you sit down to breakfast and your partner hands you a copy of your annual review. There in a bright yellow folder is a formal evaluation, complete with pie charts and bar graphs, highlighting the areas in which your spouse thought you’d excelled and where you’d fallen short.
“Over all, your performance is up from last year. Sex has improved, both in frequency and enthusiasm, and you’re also more punctual, which, as you recall, was a big problem last year. However, you continue to be far too irritable about the house being messy, complaining an average of five times a week…”
Like most newlyweds, my husband and I stepped into marriage bright-eyed, optimistic and flat-out unprepared. We’d had terrible family role models and possessed virtually no tools, yet — let’s hear it for young love — we assumed that our marriage would be a rousing success. Continue reading →